University of Chicago chosen as Sun Microsystems Center of Excellence in bioinformatics, computational biology, and medical informatics

University of Chicago chosen as Sun Microsytems Center of Excellence in bioinformatics, computational biology and medical informatics

April 17, 2002

Sun Microsystems, Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., today announced that it has selected the University of Chicago as a Sun Center of Excellence (COE) in Bioinformatics, Computational Biology and Medical Informatics. As a Sun COE, the University joins Sun's community of academic institutions developing advanced technology to do groundbreaking research in the rapidly expanding field of computational biology.

"Our relationship with Sun reflects the importance that is now being placed on computational and informatics sciences in basic biological and clinical research," said Dr. Nancy Cox, scientific director of the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Core Facility at U. Chicago.

The analysis and storage of large amounts of data are essential in all aspects of biological research, especially genomics, structural biology and molecular evolutionary genetics. The same can be said for the clinical sciences, where large volumes of patient data must be warehoused and analyzed. The sequencing of the human genome and other genomes, along with anonymous patient clinical and genetic data, are providing researchers with unparalleled opportunities to answer long-standing biological questions and, in turn, discover new ways to treat human disease.

"Sun is pleased to expand its network of COEs and enable critical biological and clinical research through our high-performance technology solutions," said Dr. Stefan Unger, business development manager for computational biology in Sun's Global Education and Research Group.

With the wealth of new data available from the genomes of human and other organisms, however, comes the challenge of efficiently managing that data and providing the necessary tools to analyze it. The technology from the University's new COE will help meet that challenge. "The last decade has seen a revolution in biomedical research," said Dr. Bruce Lahn, COE steering committee member Bioinformatics Core and assistant professor in the Department of Human Genetics and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "Suddenly, we can flash the entire genetic blueprint of a complex organism on the screen, which was inconceivable just a decade ago."

Enabling the Campus Grid
To accomplish its task, the University of Chicago will develop a data warehouse that links genomic data to patient genetic and clinical data generated by researchers at U. Chicago and its worldwide consortia and network partners; provide an efficient means of processing that biological and clinical data; and develop tools to mine that data in biologically and medically meaningful ways.

The University will combine Sun hardware in the form of a large computational cluster, the SolarisTM Operating Environment and Sun TM Grid Engine software to aggregate compute power and control, and manage the usage of computational resources over several concurrent projects. The deployment of Sun hardware on the campus includes a large Sun FireTM 6800 enterprise server with 4.6 terabytes of storage housed in Sun StorEdgeTM T3 arrays for the data warehouse, plus tape storage units; a Sun Fire V880 and a Sun Fire 280Rs as data warehouse and data mart development, test and application servers; a Technical Compute Farm (TCF) with 52 processors and other servers for high-performance bioinformatics computing; and several dozen Sun BladeTM 1000 desktops and Sun RayTM appliances.

Sun's COE program promotes open standards and collaboration to help build new technologies that advance academic research. In addition to U. of Chicago, Sun has already established COEs in computational biology with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Delaware Biotechnology Institute, Beijing Genomics Institute and the University of Calgary.

"Our newly established Center of Excellence represents a major enhancement to the computational resources available for researchers here at the University," said Dr. Gerald Wyckoff, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Human Genetics and the scientific liaison for the COE. "We look forward to fruitful collaborations with Sun and its other COEs."

Sun Microsystems in Education
Sun is a leading provider of open network computing solutions to colleges and universities around the world, powering academic, research and high performance computing systems, campus administration, digital libraries and student instructions systems. In addition, Sun is committed to connecting the world's students to the Internet, beginning with primary and secondary schools and extending to all levels of higher education.

About the University of Chicago
Established in 1890 in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, the University of Chicago is one of the world's great centers of learning. Six Nobel laureates are currently on the faculty, and 73 laureates have been students, faculty or researchers at U. Chicago. Twenty of the University's academic departments rank nationally in the top 10, according to National Research Council ratings. And for the fifth year in a row, the University of Chicago Hospitals were selected among the best hospitals in the United States by U.S.News & World Report in their annual survey of America's nearly 7,000 hospitals.

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision-The Network Is The Computer[tm]--has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that power the Internet and allow companies worldwide to take their businesses to the nth. Sun can be found in more than 170 countries and on the World Wide Web.

Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, Solaris, Sun Blade, Sun Fire, Sun Ray, Sun StorEdge and The Network Is The Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries.